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Ultrasound Preparation Guide: Top Tips for Best Results

Ramin Ansari MD
Medically reviewed by Ramin Ansari
Ramin Ansari MD
Medically reviewed by Ramin Ansari

An ultrasound is more than just a routine medical procedure. It is a window into the intricate world inside our bodies. Being well-prepared for your ultrasound makes the process smoother. Besides, it ensures that the images captured are of the highest quality. Proper ultrasound preparation is paramount. It aids doctors in making accurate diagnoses, monitoring ongoing health conditions, or even getting the first glimpse of new life during pregnancy. Whether it’s understanding what to wear, knowing the dietary precautions, or communicating effectively with your healthcare provider, every detail matters. 

Through this guide, we’ll demystify the crucial steps in preparing for an ultrasound. Our objective? To give you clarity and confidence as you head into your appointment. Dive in, and let’s ensure you’re all set for the best possible results.

What are Ultrasounds Used For?

An ultrasound, sometimes referred to as a sonogram, employs high-frequency sound waves to generate real-time images of the body’s interior. It’s a non-invasive procedure, meaning there’s no need for cuts or incisions. 

Doctors use ultrasounds in a number of cases. They can see problems in blood vessels, find issues in organs, or watch a baby’s heartbeat. For people with chronic diseases, ultrasounds are very helpful for regular check-ups. They play a vital role in tracking disease progression and the effectiveness of treatments. Beyond diagnostics, ultrasounds also hold a special place in the hearts of many expectant parents. It’s often through an ultrasound that they see their baby for the very first time. 

Medical Diagnoses

Ultrasounds are invaluable for diagnosing various conditions. When a patient reports discomfort or unusual symptoms, ultrasounds can step in to provide clarity. Some common medical diagnoses made possible through ultrasounds include:

  • Gallstones: Tiny stones that form in the gallbladder.
  • Kidney stones: Hard deposits in the kidneys.
  • Fibroids: Noncancerous growths in the uterus.
  • Blood clots: Blocking the flow of blood in veins or arteries.
  • Tumors: Both benign and malignant growths in various body parts.
  • Thyroid issues: Identifying nodules or inflammation in the thyroid.
  • Heart conditions: Detecting abnormalities in the heart’s structure and function.

For patients, this means quicker, more accurate diagnoses without the stress of invasive procedures. In essence, ultrasounds bridge the gap between initial symptoms and a clear medical path forward.

Monitoring Chronic Diseases

Chronic diseases, by their very nature, require sustained attention and management. Ultrasounds have become an invaluable ally in this ongoing battle. These scans provide doctors with real-time insights. This helps them assess the current state of a disease and adjust treatments. With ultrasounds, it’s not just about diagnosis but also about tracking how a condition evolves over time. For instance:

  • Heart disease: Monitoring the heart’s function and any potential blockages.
  • Liver disease: Checking for liver damage or scarring.
  • Kidney disorders: Observing kidney size, shape, and any possible abnormalities.
  • Diabetes: Evaluating blood flow and detecting potential complications.
  • Arthritis: Assessing joint and tissue health.

Ultrasounds play a crucial role in monitoring chronic diseases. They check often to make sure treatments work well. 

nurse using ultrasonic device

What to Do Before an Ultrasound?

Thinking about what to do before an ultrasound? When you’re scheduled for an ultrasound, specific measures can help obtain the most explicit images. Start by checking any fasting guidelines your doctor provides. Think about your attire: opt for loose, easy-to-remove clothing to make the process smoother. On the day of the ultrasound, skip lotions or creams on the area to be scanned. These can disrupt the equipment’s functioning. Always keep a list of your current medications and supplements handy to share with the technician. Remember, good preparation is the first step to a successful ultrasound experience. So, what are the instructions for ultrasound preparation?

Fasting Guidelines

Specific ultrasound examinations, like those of the abdomen, may necessitate fasting. When the scan focuses on organs like the liver, gallbladder, or pancreas, an empty stomach is vital. Why? Undigested food or liquids can cloud the visuals, making it challenging for doctors to get an accurate read. Typically, fasting means no food or drink, except water, for about 8-12 hours before the procedure. If unsure about the duration or need, always consult with your healthcare provider.

Clothing Recommendations

While it might seem minor, your clothing choice can impact the procedure’s ease and efficiency. Aim for loose, comfortable garments that can be easily removed or adjusted. Often, you might need to expose a particular area, so wearing layers can be helpful. Avoid dresses or jumpsuits, which can be cumbersome to take off. Instead, opt for separates like T-shirts and pants. Some clinics might provide a gown for you to change into.

Personal Hygiene

While it’s essential to be clean, there are certain specifics to bear in mind. For instance, the area being examined should be free of lotions, creams, or oils. These can interfere with the ultrasound’s transducer, potentially affecting image quality. If you’re scheduled for a pelvic ultrasound, a full bladder might be required. So drinking water and not urinating beforehand can be crucial. Avoid using powders or deodorants if they’re close to the scan area.

Communicating with Your Healthcare Provider

Open communication is critical. Inform your doctor about all medications, supplements, and any recent surgeries. Have you had a change in health since your last visit? Share that. Discuss any allergies or previous reactions to similar tests. Clarity from both ends ensures a tailored and safe ultrasound experience. Remember, no detail is too small. It’s this two-way communication that ensures the procedure goes off without a hitch.

What to Avoid Before an Ultrasound

Prepping for an ultrasound isn’t just about the do’s – it’s also about the don’ts. Certain things can muddy the waters of a clear scan. Try to avoid:

  • Gassy foods: Foods that produce gas can obscure the images, especially in abdominal ultrasounds.
  • Caffeine and nicotine: Both can stimulate certain organs, which might not be ideal for specific types of ultrasounds.
  • Heavy meals: A full stomach can sometimes make imaging more difficult, especially if you’re having an ultrasound of the abdomen.

If in doubt, always consult your healthcare provider. By knowing what to avoid, you’re one step closer to a successful ultrasound.

ultrasound procedure

Conclusion

Preparing for an ultrasound doesn’t have to be complicated. By being aware and following the above steps, you play a significant role in ensuring the procedure’s success. Remember, the clearer the image, the more accurate the diagnosis. By knowing what to avoid and how to prepare, you are in the best position for a successful ultrasound experience. Your role in the process is vital. While the healthcare professionals guide and support you, your preparation efforts can make a huge difference. Follow the guidelines closely during your ultrasound preparation. If something is unclear, don’t hesitate to ask. Always keep clear communication with your provider. It’s essential. After all, an ultrasound is a collaborative effort. Your readiness today ensures clearer insights tomorrow.

Navigating the world of neurological concerns? Lone Star Neurology stands as a beacon of excellence. With a range of state-of-the-art services tailored to individual needs, our commitment to patient well-being is unparalleled. Our team includes expert professionals with the newest skills in neurology. If you’re considering an ultrasound or have any other neurology-related queries, they’re the ones to consult. Learn more now!

FAQ

What should I avoid doing before an ultrasound?

Generally, it’s wise to avoid gassy foods, caffeine, and smoking. These can impact the clarity of the ultrasound images.

 

What are the instructions to follow on the day of the ultrasound?

Always arrive promptly for your appointment. Wear easily removable, comfortable clothing. If your provider gives any specific instructions for ultrasound, ensure you follow them to the letter.

 

How should I communicate with my healthcare provider regarding ultrasound preparation?

Always be forthright. Discuss any concerns, medications, or supplements you’re taking. It’s better to ask and be sure than to assume and make a mistake.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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